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Category: Poems

Glass Wings

 

On the street corner, the sun destroys the love, held between glass wings, that people had carefully passed along.

The sky stands facing the window, darkening with every turn of the ventilator.

The leaves are in the sky, drawing a single line, as the rooftops lean in.

Trains crawl along the bulging street, the sailor’s collar rotating between blue creases in the sky.

This finely dressed summer procession passes by and crumbles into the flask.

The fruits of our hearts rain happy shadows.

from The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa Find more by Chika Sagawa at the library

Copyright © 2015 Chika Sagawa
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

(Beautiful View)

 

This here is a town of widows who remain

for some sort of minimal husbandry—

alone, they find themselves again, right here

in the places that their children have left,

riding the warm words of their ministers

like bakery air right out of the clerestory.

They love the recycling truck, its hi-hat vent

making of exhaust more rhythm than blues,

its bones of glass and orphan lids that sing

consumptive songs at every turn and stop.

The industry that they thought broken down

earns fresh red coats of paint and landmark status.

From glass belvederes atop their second houses

they watch the game of nine-lives on the village green

between tourists and locals with sticks and nets.

The attackmen attack. The defenders defend.

Midfielders mediate. It’s all so simple in theory.

from Void and CompensationFind more by Michael Morse at the library

Copyright © 2015 Michael Morse
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Halo

 

Becomes a decisive body.

Acts on its ends,

 

which is to say

hands, like cloves,

 

budding flat.

Cuts a water-wheel

 

from its body,

a jenny wheel,

 

Catherine wheels.

It is coastline and,

 

as such, sheet lightning

issuing in fragile exodus

 

and armada. Question

what seems less devolved:

 

flowers wed to hands,

etymologies, stony acts

 

of will or fate.The center

unravels no more easily

 

than a stone:

it spreads in leaves,

 

it erases itself in

strands of brilliance,

 

it unlocks in florets

through the reflective blackness.

from We Are PharaohFind more by Robert Fernandez at the library

Copyright © 2011 Robert Fernandez
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Honey Do

 

Soon this northern city will be just another aisle,

stacks of ketchup and racks of white blouses

 

within spitting distance. They invite you in,

say have a nice day, greeters charged to help

 

find what you’re looking for: just milk

and bread. Pay the plastic fee, slide a card,

 

and get to the list of chores. I’m pouring concrete

into many holes, letting it dry, trying to finish

 

before the first hard freeze, steel poles sticking

straight up.That pile of boards? Call it a fence.

from BugleFind more by Tod Marshall at the library

Copyright © 2014 Tod Marshall
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Enough

 

I am wearing dark glasses inside the house

To match my dark mood.

 

I have left all the sugar out of the pie.

My rage is a kind of domestic rage.

 

I learned it from my mother

Who learned it from her mother before her

 

And so on.

Surely the Greeks had a word for this.

 

Now surely the Germans do.

The more words a person knows

 

To describe her private sufferings

The more distantly she can perceive them.

 

I repeat the names of all the cities I’ve known

And watch an ant drag its crooked shadow home.

 

What does it mean to love the life we’ve been given?

To act well the part that’s been cast for us?

 

Wind. Light. Fire. Time.

A train whistles through the far hills.

 

One day I plan to be riding it.

from The IrrationalistFind more by Suzanne Buffam at the library

Copyright © 2010 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Anyone’s Two Minutes

 

The moon is empty,

whatever else may be happening

in the change of setting.

He removes his hand

from the inner pocket of his blazer,

and it is empty.

Her hand finds its way

from her hip to his

and then across his back,

flat and moving upward

until her fingers hook

just over his collar

and tug just barely.

“I just thought,” she continued,

“we could extend to each thought

the courtesy of completing it.”

The small crowd

that had coagulated around her

broke into laughter. The ceiling caved right in.

Pure imitation is only possible

in the cult of authenticity,

for these are the flowers of our youth,

the cant of glorious magmas

instantiated in molecular puzzles

of personally offending highwire commentary

delivered in drollest New England chowder.

Exhale of concept.

The future of the worker is closing its doors.

It’s fine with me if nothing happens.

I expect some feelings of disappointment,

but they won’t encompass us,

not with so many dots to fill in

and the regular accomplishing of sentences

in the high-spirited yellow living room,

steam of small dishes

against the cold weather,

children’s desperation, a loosening

of screens, a face at the window

receding. The darkness,

as they say, abounds within us.

He choked to death on his own joke.

The dogs had some kind of dispute.

Choose a glass from this tray and wait.

She smiled from the corner of the stadium.

I borrowed this car from a sick neighbor.

The signs insist all they like.

I think we know better.

No one delivers a punch like me.

I can’t even feel my hands.

It’s been ages since I thought of this.

Please help.

We’re desperate for your love.

Revise at will and send on.

I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Then I consider explaining to him just how awful he is to me.

I lost all interest in ever saying anything.

I just sat there and took it.

I don’t expect to stay much longer.

I just don’t see how I could.

from To Literally You Find more by Paul Killebrew at the library

Copyright © 2017 Paul Killebrew
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

The Palace at 4 A.M.

 

The authorities come, in the middle of the night, on ignoble steeds, to take Hannahbella away.

They come to take her away and they took her away, but she remains, for I have built this palace for her on the 13th, and therefore nonexistent, category of reason.

They come to take her away and they took her away, but she is still here rehearsing her walk off the tiny plank. And there she is again, begging our prehistoric bird for another ride around the rotunda.

But here are the authorities, coming on their strapping steeds, to take Hannahbella away.

They took her away, and their stomping upset our fragile beams, and we, Hannahbella and I, have been left behind to right them. We right them like spines, one after the next, up four floors of the palace, and then together Hannahbella and I walk the roof wire and right the spire.

Now the palace is becoming crowded. There is Hannahbella, and there is I, and there are also all the Hannahbellas who have been taken away, who are also still here, in cages suspended from the palace’s high ceilings.

They come to take her away and they take her away and the palace is peopled with Hannahbellas, each rehearsing a different scene cut short from the life of Hannahbella.

And one of the Hannahbellas rehearsing a scene from adolescence asks me why, if I am such a believer in effacement, why do we live in a glass case where all can see our movements? And they come to take her away and they take her away and it is very difficult for me for I miss terribly even this most belligerent of Hannahbellas, who, a teenager of terrible grace and anger, has been left behind and is lighting the palace on fire.

(But Hannahbella, when they take you away the palace grows rooms, rooms, there is so much room in here to think, such large rooms, Hannahbella, I am not exactly sorry to have.)

The townspeople are coming out to watch the palace glass shatter, to watch my Hannahbella pour cold piercing light all around her. A shard may have struck me from above, but I am busy, very busy, because here are the authorities charging in on shining steeds to take away all the Hannahbellas in existence, all the real ones and all the memories of what was real and all the memories of what about her was not real but still exquisite, which means that of course they must take me too, for it is I who keep insisting that the fragile princess exist.

They come to take me, the queen, but I am cleft in two, and when at first they do not know which of me to take, I announce to them a riddle I think may spare me:

Do not despair; one of the queens is saved. Do not presume; one of the queens is damned.

But they took us both.

from The Palace of Subatomic BlissFind more by Darcie Dennigan at the library

Copyright © 2016 Darcie Dennigan
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

You and I Should Have a Great Relationship

 

YOU and I should have a great relationship, for you desire to be king,

And I, to be the king’s indispensable advisor.

 

Yet, our alliance is not so happy. You object to my hauteur,

And I, to having to listen to your fake poetry.

 

Every feeble epigram puts my children in hell, makes my

Wedding black, makes my father hate my mother…

 

But when I reveal by my frigid manner any tension or contempt,

You indulge in a monarch’s invective against ingratitude.

 

And so we carry on. But Sa’di says that in debate it is the

Arguments that should stand out, not the veins of the neck.

 

I with this, and you with me, are burdened until graduation.

’Til that fine day, empty chivalry’s bound to lead us a weary chase.

 

Twice my allotment of twice-two years, I’ve kept company with children.

Yóu are cursed with a new set of parents every day…

 

Who? Friend, you. You, whose whole life is a story

Of noble generosity thwarted by insubordination.

from I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say Find more by Anthony Madrid at the library

Copyright © 2012 Anthony Madrid
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Excerpts from a Secret Sermon

 

To speak of Distillation this instant

would be stupid and cause madness and loss of limb

to who may be fixing what needs six years to find rest.

 

Vine-tressed, the vessels are to store what of which ore taken

from ground or grave wherein lay a heavily gold-toothed guru

who told you in his will you will take out from him said gold

 

which becomes a new monkey to put up with.

It says not much but how to and when

you will be able to know.

 

First, strike spaces in casements not meant to screen

as all mannered pest fly through. You are

needful of these gaps which allow moonbeams of each degree

 

to touch you who is so unused; you must in sleep take visitings,

be pulled as towards their rut-rocked surface source.

You may go closer to the window. There is no glass in the frame.

 

It will be who wakes with a taste of special metal each morn.

Who was alive only when looking for the source.

Who was dying and, hard black-biled inside, had to hit back.

 

Neither slow to takeover nor quick breeding inside

this knowledge of instants uneasy as amputees

are to take away from their new ex-limbs.

 

And softly spoken as red worn by a sleeping babe;

dreams to him are livid though he is not allowed to say

what holds him to his ritual. He stains new if old clothes taken away.

 

And inches inside which tick each upended history to tell

who to hold this hand you have out to

catch motion off one moment you think meant for you.

from Moving DayFind more by Ish Klein at the library

Copyright © 2011 Ish Klein
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

“I press my cup against the testy dispenser”

 

I press my cup against the testy dispenser on the fridge and tinkling cubes tumble down the chute. The kitchen glows. The pillows on our couch have been plumped. Thanks to Estela, who comes every couple of weeks—when she remembers, that is, and can get herself here from across town in her Datsun, which is tired, she explains, and in constant need of repair—I can study my new jowls in the microwave’s dust-free mirrored door. Don’t get me wrong. I like Estela. What’s more, I trust her. I am grateful for the tidy piles of change she arranges by the bed and the gummy earplugs she retrieves from between the sheets. I marvel at the way she combs the snarls out of my hairbrush. No matter how hard I try, for that matter, I cannot master Estela’s inimitable technique for balling socks. But it is hard to work, I find, when Estela is here, working so hard—so much harder, to all appearances, than I am—with that smirk of unfathomable peace across her face.

from A Pillow BookFind more by Suzanne Buffam at the library

Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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